Interpol arrested the Nigerian mastermind of an online fraud network. He will face charges of hacking, conspiracy and obtaining money under false pretences.
The Interpol announced the arrest of a 40-year-old Nigerian national that the mastermind behind an online fraud network which made illegal profits worth more than $60 million (54 million euros). The Nigerian man has been arrested in the southern oil city of Port Harcourt, Interpol said on Monday.
“The head of an international criminal network behind thousands of online frauds has been arrested in a joint operation by INTERPOL and the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).” reads the official statement issued by the Interpol. “The 40-year-old Nigerian national, known as ‘Mike’, is believed to be behind scams totalling more than USD 60 million involving hundreds of victims worldwide. In one case a target was conned into paying out USD 15.4 million.”
The network was composed of at least 40 individuals across several countries in Asia and Africa, it focused in online frauds and malware diffusion. The victims of the gang were range from small to medium businesses around the world.
“The network compromised email accounts of small to medium businesses around the world including in Australia, Canada, India, Malaysia, Romania, South Africa, Thailand and the US, with the financial victims mainly other companies dealing with these compromised accounts.
Heading a network of at least 40 individuals across Nigeria, Malaysia, and South Africa which both provided malware and carried out the frauds, the alleged mastermind also had money laundering contacts in China, Europe and the US who provided bank account details for the illicit cash flow.” continues the announcement.
The Nigerian man is also charged with money laundering activities thanks to a network of accomplices located in China, Europe, and the US.
The criminal network led by the Nigerian man was focused on payment diversion fraud and ‘CEO fraud’.
“Following his arrest in Port Harcourt in southern Nigeria, a forensic examination of devices seized by the EFCC showed he had been involved in a range of criminal activities including business e-mail compromise (BEC) and romance scams.” says the Interpol.
The Nigerian man, along with a 38-year-old also arrested by Nigerian authorities, faces charges including hacking, conspiracy and obtaining money under false pretences.
Pierluigi Paganini is member of the ENISA (European Union Agency for Network and Information Security) Threat Landscape Stakeholder Group and Cyber G7 Group, he is also a Security Evangelist, Security Analyst and Freelance Writer.
Editor-in-Chief at "Cyber Defense Magazine", Pierluigi is a cyber security expert with over 20 years experience in the field, he is Certified Ethical Hacker at EC Council in London. The passion for writing and a strong belief that security is founded on sharing and awareness led Pierluigi to find the security blog "Security Affairs" recently named a Top National Security Resource for US.
Pierluigi is a member of the "The Hacker News" team and he is a writer for some major publications in the field such as Cyber War Zone, ICTTF, Infosec Island, Infosec Institute, The Hacker News Magazine and for many other Security magazines.
Author of the Books "The Deep Dark Web" and “Digital Virtual Currency and Bitcoin”.